Fiberglass Windows vs. Vinyl Windows – Which Material is Best?

We field questions every day on which material – wood, vinyl or fiberglass – is best and why. We’ll focus this discussion on vinyl and fiberglass materials. Fiberglass has been around for decades, but recently, it has achieved more attention due to its superior strength, weatherability, energy efficiency and low maintenance requirements. Fiberglass windows are taking a big slice out of the more expensive vinyl window markets and leaving many vinyl window manufacturers fighting for the low-quality, budget window market. Find out why fiberglass – and specifically, Ultrex pultruded fiberglass – is becoming the smart choice over vinyl for more and more homeowners.

As a smart homeowner, you want to…

Choose a material that is both tough and smart.

Our Integrity windows by Marvin are made from Ultrex pultruded fiberglass — it’s tough, durable and built to last. It’s eight times stronger than vinyl and three times stronger than vinyl/wood composites. Windows from Integrity perform at the highest level for the full duration of their life. And they live a long, happy life (as much as 38% longer than vinyl1)—making them an incredibly smart investment.

  • Ultrex fiberglass is more than 8X stronger than vinyl.
  • Fiberglass is a green building material and requires 39% less energy to produce than vinyl.
  • Vinyl windows are not particularly strong or rigid and have a tendency to sag due to their flexibility.
  • Vinyl window frames can soften, warp, twist and bow when heat builds up within the frame.
  • Fiberglass is the fastest growing window and door material in the industry.

Create a comfortable home

Windows keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Integrity’s dual-paned, insulated glass windows with LoE II coating absorb heat in the winter and reflect it in the summer, also reducing damaging UV rays. Additionally, our tri-pane windows with argon gas achieve U-Factors as low as .18, making your home a comfortable oasis in even the harshest environments. Many Integrity products exceed Energy Star guidelines and qualify to be part of an elite “Most Efficient Program” established by the federal government.2

  • Ultrex fiberglass expands and contracts at nearly the same rate as glass to prevent seal failures (the appearance of condensation BETWEEN the glass panes which indicates the glass has lost its insulating effectiveness).
  • Vinyl expands and contracts at a rate of 8X more than glass leading to potential seal failures, frame failures and air gaps.

Get the most for your money

The total value you receive with Integrity Windows is a huge advantage. Multiple factors provide value that’s impossible to ignore:

  • Energy Savings: Integrity’s Energy Star® qualified windows can save you 15% on your total energy bill.³
  • The Warranty: A full 20 years on glass seals and 10 years on manufacturing defects.
  • U-Factor: Our windows with triple-pane glazing boast U-Factors as low as .18.
  • Life Expectancy: A recent study reported that fiberglass windows have a 38% longer useful life expectancy than vinyl.1
  • Ultrex fiberglass has a 38% longer useful life expectancy than vinyl.1
  • Ultrex fiberglass is price competitive to high quality vinyl windows.
  • Ultrex fiberglass resists UV degradation (chalking, fading and cracking) 5X longer than vinyl.

Enhance the look of your home

Integrity Windows are Built to Perform® — for a long, long time. So, unlike most of your design choices and furnishings, they are long-term fixtures in your home. Integrity Windows are available in both classic and modern styles to reflect your style with lasting quality. A variety of available exterior colors allow for an understated look or an adventurous accent mark. Exterior trim and divided lites can add a beautiful touch, and with the durability of Ultrex you’ll have plenty of time to admire them instead of maintaining them.

  • Fiberglass windows can be built with thinner, stronger frames than vinyl or composites like Fibrex, allowing larger openings and more daylight.
  • Ultrex provides a superior, consistent finish that can be painted, even in dark colors, without voiding the warranty.
  • Ultrex is the only product in the fiberglass, vinyl or composite category whose finish is certified for quality and durability by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA).4
  • Integrity windows are available in Wood/Ultrex – beauty of wood interior and durability of Ultrex fiberglass exterior.

Fiberglass Windows vs. Vinyl Windows – The Bottom Line…

More architects, contractors and homeowners are choosing durable, beautiful fiberglass windows, making fiberglass the fastest-growing material in the window and door market. And Ultrex has a longer track record than any other fiberglass product on the market. We spent a considerable amount of time researching the best window manufacturers and made visits to several manufacturing facilities to see how the windows are constructed. We’re confident that Integrity Windows by Marvin are a better value than vinyl windows and competitive fiberglass or composite windows.

Stop by our Idea Showroom and let us show you the comparison between vinyl and fiberglass windows. Or, we can come to your home for a No Obligation Consultation. Call us today to set up your appointment and see the difference for yourself.

1 – Life cycle assessment of windows for the North American residential market. Case study by the University of British Columbia. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 2008.
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4 – The Ultrex patented coating system is AAMA 623-10 certified and is listed on the exclusive AAMA Verified Components List for 624-10 and 625-10.

Are Birds Attacking Your Windows?

Have you ever heard a repeated thud on your window only to find out it’s a bird? This is not the occasional strike when a bird inadvertently hits a window…this is a repeated and deliberate attack on your window.

Why Do Birds Attack Windows?

When a bird sees its reflection in a window, it perceives the reflection as a territorial rival. During spring and early summer when birds are defending their breeding territories, window attacks pick up. After the breeding season has ended (as late as August depending on the number of broods), the aggression will wane and the attacks will lessen.

Bird species that are very aggressive or territorial are most likely to exhibit this behavior. In the Louisville area, cardinals and robins are highly territorial birds while swallows, starlings, finches and sparrows are also known to strike at windows.

Some bird behavior is only mildly annoying…

…but other bird behavior is downright terrifying!

What Can I Do To Prevent the Attacks?

A territorial bird can be very persistent. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “Territorial battles with windows may be so strong that a bird may exhaust itself, but the collisions usually don’t result in fatal injury.”

While you may want to keep the bird from injuring itself, the good folks at the Massachusetts Audubon group suggest that, usually, the best course of action is to do nothing and wait. But if the behavior is disruptive to your daily life or is causing obvious injury to the bird, the key to stopping the attacks is to break up the reflection the bird sees so it does not feel threatened.

Options include:

  • Pull down your shades. White curtains or blinds can prevent birds from seeing their reflections.
  • Use a bar of soap or tempura paint to draw large patterns on the outside of the window to break up the reflections.
  • Place painter’s tape, decals, sun catchers or other objects closely together (leave no clear areas larger than 4″ wide x 2″ tall) on the outside of the window.
  • Place non-reflective screen or netting outside the window at least 2-3 inches from the glass.
  • Add one-way transparent film or opaque, cloudy plastic (medium weight plastic painter’s drop cloth works well) to windows.
  • Move bird feeders or bird baths away from the problem window.


How to Prepare Your Window and Door Screens for Spring

Window or door screens are an absolute must in the spring and summer in Kentuckiana. They allow us to enjoy breezes without having to worry about bugs and other unwanted critters. Unfortunately, they can get noticeably dirty with dust and grime build-up. And if you think of them as a filter for the incoming fresh air, you’ll want your screens as clean as possible.

How To Clean Window or Door Screens

NOTE: Screen material and frames can be easily bent or creased, so be gentle!

First, remove your screen from the window or door. If you’re cleaning multiple screens, label each screen so you remember where to re-install them later. For your cleaning solution, nothing works better than this mixture: add one cup of household ammonia and a tablespoon of liquid dish detergent to about three cups of water.

We recommend placing the screen on a smooth, flat surface to help prevent damage to the screen while cleaning. Using a sponge or soft cloth, liberally apply the solution to your entire screen and scrub. You can use a soft scrub brush to gently remove any stubborn dirt. Flip the screen and repeat the process. Rinse with clean water. Soap residue acts as a dust magnet, so rinse thoroughly. Finally, gently shake your screen free of water and allow it to air-dry. Before you reinstall your screens, wipe down the grooves and window sill. Reinstall your screens and enjoy some fresh air!

Screen Repair

If you have holes or rips in your screens, you can repair them yourself with a screen repair kit (available at most hardware stores) or have them repaired by a skilled pro. Many small local hardware stores have someone on staff that repairs screens.

What’s New in Screens

Window and door screens have become more and more convenient and functional. If you’re in the market for new windows or doors, look for these new screen ideas:

  • Retractable screens slide completely out of view
  • Solar screens offer glare and heat control
  • Pet screens are heavy duty and ideal for door screens
  • Swing out screens are a stylish option for your windows
  • Stainless steel screens keep small children and pets safely inside
  • High transparency screens improve clarity of view through the screen

Trend Watch: Dark Interior Windows

Are you ready to make a statement in your home? Consider adding definition with one of the latest trends in windows — but one that is here to stay — dark windows.

Make A Statement

All black or dark-colored windows can add dimension and depth, while mixed finishes offer a more classic look. It’s one that can help set a window apart in a space and add a touch of statement-making drama to your room.

The New Design Rule

As our friends at Marvin Windows like to say, “The new design rules are that there are no rules.” Using a black or dark colored sash will make your windows stand out, create some contrast and frame your view.

Don’t want to change all of your windows? No worries. “If someone doesn’t want to commit to changing all of the windows, I recommend changing a set of windows or room to create a focal point,” suggests Design Consultant Karen Lamontagne. “ Have a big bay window in the front? Use a dark sash to draw attention to it.”

Mixing Styles

Louisville is a traditional town, filled with many traditional homes. However, even in our town, today’s interior aesthetics are trending toward more modern looks. A black or dark window sash is a great way to mix a modern look into a traditional home. Grilles on glass and divided lites are still popular here. Don’t worry, this look still works.

“Dark windows add a decorative element, almost like a piece of art. A dark window with white trim around it can enhance the beauty of a room,” says Lamontagne.



No Extra Work Required

Our windows come from our partners at Marvin Windows and Doors pre-finished, primed and painted, or stained and polyurethaned. This means there is little or no work required on your part to achieve this look. But, if for some reason you wish to change the look down the road, the interior of these windows are wood. So, it’s as easy as paint.

Remember, when you choose The Door Store and Windows as your design and installation partner, you are not just picking a window off of a shelf. You are entrusting your windows to experts who will partner with you to provide direction and design expertise. We will help you decide which options are best for your home.

So, if you haven’t already seen and fallen in love with this look, chances are that you will soon. When you do, give us a call! Did you enjoy reading this? We bet you’ll love our blog about how new windows can save you money on your power bill!

Integrity Windows from Marvin Named “Best Fiberglass Window Brand” by BUILDER Magazine

Integrity® from Marvin Windows and Doors has once again been named the “Best Quality Fiberglass Window Brand” in the 2015 Brand Use Study conducted by BUILDER Magazine. The company was also honored in 2014.

The study, sponsored by BUILDING Magazine publisher Hanley Wood and conducted by an independent third-party research company, surveyed more than 10,000 builders, developers and general contractors on their awareness and use of various brands in 69 different categories.

“Since adding the Integrity line to our window solutions, we’ve seen first-hand the outstanding performance of Integrity’s Ultrex fiberglass windows and this study confirms that many other professionals feel the same.”

– Ann Gregory, Partner at Door Store and Windows.

Here are some of our recent Louisville area fiberglass window projects using Integrity windows:

With Integrity’s Ultrex fiberglass windows, why settle for vinyl windows?

Integrity’s fiberglass windows are made with Ultrex — a state-of-the-art pultruded fiberglass that is eight times stronger than vinyl, three times stronger than wood/vinyl composites and as strong as steel. Integrity offers an All-Ultrex fiberglass line of products, as well as a Wood-Ultrex line that combines an real wood interior with a virtually indestructible fiberglass exterior. Both lines are available with numerous design and glazing options for both new construction and the remodel and replace market, and are available in six exterior finish colors (including darker colors such as Ebony, which most vinyl manufacturers cannot offer due to durability and fading concerns).

The toughness of Integrity’s Ultrex is legendary, making it quite possibly the perfect building material. It beautifully resists rotting, warping, fading and chipping. Additionally, Integrity’s Ultrex is currently the first and only finish to have achieved 624-10 verification from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), and to have completed lab requirements for 625-10. These certifications mean that the industry’s best fiberglass finish has undergone rigorous testing and is proven to resist fading, chalking, scratching and cracking to keep your project looking good for years to come.

What to Know About Using Windows as Emergency Exits

Having a family plan for evacuating your home in the event of an emergency is a smart idea. In your plan, it is recommended to include two ways to escape from every room in case one way is blocked by fire or smoke.

Here are some tips for evaluating the windows in your home for emergency exit use:

  • Window opening control devices are intended to help protect against accidental window falls by children age 5 and younger. Teach household members 6 and older how to operate the release mechanism in case of emergency.
  • Be sure to leave at least one window in every room unblocked by window insulating film, window air conditioners or other obstructions.
  • Never paint, nail or weatherstrip windows shut.
  • The National Fire Protection Association recommends storing one escape ladder in every occupied room of your home that is above the main level. Make sure every member of your family knows how the ladder works.
  • Regularly test and verify operability of escape windows and window opening control device release mechanisms.

This might also be a good time to check the operation of your smoke alarms and replace batteries if necessary. Be safe and be prepared.



Window Safety for Children

As spring arrives, you naturally want to open your windows and let in fresh air. If you have young children in your home, take a moment to make sure the open window doesn’t pose a danger.

According to a study by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Center for Injury and Research Policy, every year in the US, falls from windows injure about 5,100 children. More than 3,300 are under age of five. Researchers also suggest that most could be prevented with simple window safety measures.

No Precaution Or Device Is A Substitute For Close Supervision

Tips To Help Protect Children From Window Falls

  • Keep windows closed and locked when not in use.
  • Keep window opening control devices (see more info below) securely engaged unless needed for use in an emergency.
  • If you open windows for ventilation, choose windows not easily reached by children. For example, open the upper sash of a double hung window. When not in use, keep windows closed and locked.
  • Don’t place furniture such as sofas, beds or bookcases under windows.
  • Don’t rely on insect screens to prevent falls — 83 percent of falls are from screened windows.
  • Landscaping can provide a cushion to break falls should they occur. Consider landscaping beneath windows with wood chips, shrubs or other soft surfaces.

Window Safety Features

Tempered Glass

Tempered (or safety) glass is used in applications where standard glass could pose a potential danger. Tempered glass is four to five times stronger than standard glass and does not break into sharp shards, but shatters into small oval-shaped pebbles when broken. Tempered glass is typically used on large glass panels like full view doors, storm doors and large windows that are installed less than 18″ from the floor.




Opening Control Devices

Opening control devices limit the window opening to help prevent falls from the window. The devices feature a release button to open the window fully.

Ask your Door Store and Windows design expert to show you how these features work.




Buying Tips: Window Screens

In Kentuckiana, window screens allow you to enjoy fresh breezes while keeping pesky bugs out of your home. Our seasonal transitions have us opening and closing our windows regularly. Today’s screens offer helpful new technologies and options which give homeowners new conveniences for enjoying fresh air in our homes.

Video Tips on Choosing Screens

Screen Options for Casement Windows:

Half Screens for Double Hung Windows:

Here’s more info to help you choose screens for your windows …

You Want A Clear View Through Your Windows

Many homeowners prefer the clear view of a screenless window but don’t like the inconvenience of removing and reinstalling screens. There are several options now available for improving the clarity and convenience of using screens.


Half-screens are a nice option for double-hung windows particularly if you don’t open the top sashes. Half-screens are installed in the lower half of a double-hung window allowing a clear view through the upper half. It’s the easiest and most affordable way to get screen coverage and clarity in one package.


Retractable Screens

One of the newest screen technologies – retractable screens – offers an excellent convenience. Simply glide your screen across the window and snap it into place when you want fresh air without bugs. Slide back when you want an open view through your window. When rolled away, the screen is completely protected from the elements, reducing cleaning and maintenance. Now you see it, now you don’t.


High Transparency Screens

Available in various levels of transparency, this screen style features a tighter, finer mesh for a clearer view to the outdoors. Since the clarity of these screens can make them harder to see, they are not recommended for sliding or storm doors.

 You Have Pets or Small Children

Pets and small children can wreck havoc on fragile screens. Screen technology has improved to help you avoid constant screen replacement or repairs.

Pet Screens

Ideal for sliding screen doors and low windows, pet screens are much stronger than traditional fiberglass or aluminum screening. Up to seven times stronger than traditional screen mesh, pet screen is more resistant to tears and damage caused by household pets and children.


Stainless Steel Screens

The ultimate in screen durability, stainless steel screens are available on select storm doors to keep small children and pets safely inside. Due to secure design, screens are non-removable.

You Have a Push Out Casement Window

Marvin Windows and Doors offers a beautiful casement window with a push out design. Turn the handle and push the window open. No fancy technology here, no cranks either. But that means you need access to the window at all times…you don’t want to have to remove your screen every time you open your window. We’ve got you covered.

Swing Out Screens

This screen features a wood frame hinge mounted to the side of the window. Swing the screen open, push your casement window open and close the screen. Voilå! Fresh air. It’s quick and one of the more attractive screen options we’ve seen. Retractable screens also work for push out casement windows.

Please note: Not all screen options are available on all windows or doors. Please consult your Door Store and Windows design specialist to help you find the best solution for your specific needs.

Design Ideas for Kitchen Windows

Whether you see your kitchen as a place to toil over a hot stove or to tantalize some taste buds, kitchen windows bring much needed natural light to make any task easier. And with stunning design options, your kitchen window can also be the focal point of the room.

Reaching Across Counters?

Opening a window while reaching across kitchen counters can be difficult. Casement or awning windows are well suited for this situation. With crank and lock both within easy reach, you get quick access to breezes.



Frame Your Stove

Today’s stoves feature beautiful exhaust covers and decorative backsplashes that enhance the room’s design. When flanked with windows on both sides, there’s a new hot spot in the room.




Wake Up To A View

A breakfast nook with windows that stretch from floor to ceiling brings the outdoors in and insulated Low-E glass keeps things comfortable.




Open It Up

Installing a window over a sink was the architect’s way of making the drudgery of cleaning dishes a tad more enjoyable. Take it a step further with multiple windows and you’ll feel like you have an outdoor kitchen.



Don’t Forget The Outside

This homeowner loves to enjoy colorful flowers, but you could just as easily have an herb garden in this window box. Open your windows to the smells of the outdoors, flowers and herbs.




Make It Unique

Choose a unique design like this arch to provide a visual spark to your kitchen area. Many other shapes and grille patterns are available to meet your design aspirations.




For more design inspiration, contact one of our design consultants at 502-896-171 or fill out our contact form.




Multiple Window and Door Styles Can Be Crafted For a Unified Look

There are a number of different window styles available – casement, double-hung, picture and more – each designed for a particular use. But how do you use the different styles together without your house looking like a hodge-podge of window openings? We can help.

Can You Find The Four Different Window and Door Styles In This Picture?

While all of these windows and doors look very similar, this photo shows four different styles of window/door in use – casement (at left in kitchen), double-hung (corner above lamp), and picture windows (next to double-hung) along with sliding doors (next to picture window and far right). Notice how well the different styles of windows and doors maintain the “two-over-two” grid pattern.

Watch the video at right to find out more about how the architect put the appropriate style of window/door where it was needed.

Changing Grid Pattern Sizes and Muntin Styles


The original windows in this home were a mish-mash of grid pattern sizes and muntin usage that didn’t match the proportions of the house.





Adding external muntins, changing to a larger grid pattern size and adding muntins to the half-round windows makes this home look more stately.




Call one of our design consultants at 502-896-1717 to get started on your project. We can help you transform your home with new windows or doors.